Ryobi 18V ONE+ Cordless Brushless 3-Speed Impact Wrench tested: World Championship Wrenching

This cordless impact wrench packs a punch and will make wrenching a lot easier.

The Ryobi wrench next to a wheel

by Ryan Gilmore |

There’s nothing cooler sounding in the world of power tools than an impact wrench. Further to this, nothing sounds more impressive than saying “I need to use the impact wrench,” when working on a car because it makes you sound like you know what you’re talking about, even if you’re just removing a wheel.

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The absolute best impact wrenches use compressed air, but will be unnecessary for domestic use and will also mean you'll need a humongous (and loud) air compressor to make the thing work. And with massive advances in battery tech, cordless impact wrenches are now becoming more and more impressive, like this model from Ryobi.

RYOBI - ONE+ HP 18V Brushless Cordless 4-Mode u00bd in. Impact Wrench

RYOBI - ONE+ HP 18V Brushless Cordless 4-Mode u00bd in. Impact Wrench
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Note: This product is currently being affected by intermittent stock. Buy direct from Ryobi here.

Alternative: The Ryobi R18IW7-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Brushless 3-Speed Impact Wrench is a worthy alternative to the ONE+. It has the same motor and uses the same Ryobi battery pack.

What’s it like?

The Ryobi wrench next to a wheel
©Photo: Ryan Gilmore/CAR

Part of the ONE+ battery range, this is Ryobi's most powerful cordless impact wrench to date. Boasting a meaty 700Nm of fastening torque and 900Nm of breakaway torque thanks to a hefty brushless motor, this is the AMG Black Series of cordless impact wrenches.

It's a decently compact unit, but full of handy extras to make using it a total doddle, even if you're a total beginner. For example, there are four power settings to choose from, including a very clever AutoStop setting that senses when it's about to over-torque a nut or the nut has been loosened and will stop the motor. Ryobi claims this setting is optimised for tightening and loosening wheel nuts and in our experience, performed perfectly. The other three speeds aren't 'smart' but are easy to figure out and each is powerful enough for domestic DIY.

Other nice added features include three LED lights to help illuminate the end of the drive, invaluable for awkward wrenching and a buckle attachment for easy storage and carrying. It also shares its battery with a plethora of other Ryobi tools, making it very reasonable if you already own a Ryobi battery pack.

How is it to use?

As a total wrenching beginner, the Ryobi couldn't have been a better introductory tool. The settings were easily adjustable, tightening and breakaway easily configurable and the design incredibly ergonomic. The grip is supportive and even with a whopping 4.0Ah battery attached to the bottom, well balanced. The bare tool only weighs in at 1.7kg too, incredibly light for such a powerful tool.

More experienced wrenchers will appreciate the smooth power from the brushless motor and incredible tightening and breakaway abilities. While we only tested the wrench on wheel nuts, the impressive figures would see the Ryobi able to tackle an engine block and other heavier-duty bolts, even if the AutoStop function would be ineffective.

Verdict

Detail shots of the Ryobi impact wrench
©Photo: Ryan Gilmore/CAR

An impact wrench is by no means a toolbox essential like a screwdriver or hammer but can come in handy if you're regularly working with tightly torqued nuts. If you're thinking about buying one you can't go wrong with this model. It's simple to use if you're a beginner but is a future-proof investment if you become more mechanically adept and want to unbolt bigger things than wheels. It's also really well-made, filled with clever ergonomic touches and you can easily swap the battery with other Ryobi tools.

5/5

Pros Cons
• Powerful • Do you really need an impact wrench?
• Easy to use • You’ll need to supply your own sockets
• Battery swap with other Ryobi tools

How we tested the Ryobi 18V ONE+ Cordless Brushless 3-Speed Impact Wrench:

Taking a leaf out of what most amateur DIYers would use an impact wrench for, we set about removing wheels from a selection of cars, testing the wrench in both its first speed and the AutoStop mode. While we were unable to test the higher speed settings on a car, we were able to test them by tightening bolts into a piece of wood.

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